The Most Successful Holiday Marketing Campaigns That Will Inspire You
Some people feel excited about the upcoming holiday season, others not as much. As mortal beings, we are allowed to have mixed feelings about the season. Companies, however, have no choice — they need to love it.
Around Christmas, everyone is not only paying more attention to what you, as a brand, have to say. Everyone is actually buying more. People anticipate companies like Coka-Cola, Google, and John Lewis to produce holiday marketing campaigns, and those companies do, every single year.
To all the people that want their companies to perform well in the upcoming year, it should only signal those funny ads about Santa’s adventures, or Christmasy website redesigns work. And since customers almost associate the Christmas season with the holiday marketing campaigns, it is your responsibility to deliver on that premise. The holiday season creates a perfect opportunity for you to say something important about your brand.
So yes, holiday marketing campaigns are important. But how can you make one? Creating a quality marketing campaign is never easy. To help you out, in this article will talk about some of the most successful holiday marketing campaigns. We will show what you can learn from them and how you can use their example to improve your brand.
1. Coca-Cola and ‘Holidays are Coming’
You cannot talk about a successful holiday marketing campaign without mentioning Coca-Cola. They have been doing it for almost 100 years now, and needless to say that that many years of experience have made them very good at it. The brand’s name now is almost synonymous to the holiday season. If someone asked you what brands have the best holiday marketing chances are Coca-Cola would be of one of the first ones to pop into your mind.
Of course, there are many examples that we could have talked about — the brand has been consistently producing great ads almost every single year. But we need to talk about the ad that defined the future of future of the brand. The most campaign that certainly was the most influential is the classical add with the Christmas truck. ‘Holidays are Coming’ became the concept that the company used for many times after its official launch. It is one of the most important campaigns that brought the company its name and has fairly been named one of the best in history.
Key takeaway: Be consistent and use what works.
Coca-Cola has done many things right with this campaign. It made emphasis on the simplicity, unique voice, and yes… consistency. Many experts seem to agree that what made the company so successful is its ability to capitalize on what they already have. That includes the colors, the melodies, and the feelings that all of those things evolve. Coca-Cola has managed to continuously bring up the same topic with a slight variation. Not without reason one of the first rules in marketing is repetition. If you repeat something enough chances are the idea is going to stick, and people will remember it. After all, why do would you what to fix is not broken?
2. Starbucks and ‘The Red Canvas’
The Starbucks’ famous – and somewhat controversial – red cups will go down the history as one of the most successful holiday marketing campaigns and rightly so. In 2015 the company produced plain red cups with no illustrations and invited all the customers to decorate the cups with their doodles. Next year, the company selected some of the best designs and used them in their branding. Can you imagine how nice it felt to see your own work the cups that millions of people drink coffee from?
Even though it was slightly controversial, there is no doubt to whether it was a successful holiday market campaigns or not — it certainly was. It is an example of how you can use a couple of holidays seasons to tell a compelling story that your customers will remember (and win over their hearts).
Key takeaway: Be interactive.
What the company has done right is used its global audience to run big-scale marketing campaigns. The company also should that you can respond to criticism well. When you are working with millions of clients all over the world, conflicts are inevitable. You cannot avoid them for your life. Not panicking and knowing how to handle it – especially in the busy and hectic periods like Christmas – is admirable. The company showed that interest in your customers cannot go unnoticed. In other words, your marketing campaign should be encouraging, and customer-center. All of their stories and experience can positively affect your reputation.
3. Barnes and Noble and ‘#BNGiftTip’
In 2014 Barnes and Noble proved that to be among the best holiday marketing campaigns is the one that serves people and gives them what they want. The company understood that the thing their customers care the most about around Christmas is… presents.
The bookshop launched a digital campaign offering live consultation to all the people that wanted book-suggestions on Twitter using the hashtag. It was a successful and interactive holiday marketing campaign that drove a lot of attention to their brand. In other words, the company used the interactive nature of social media to its advantage.
Key takeaway: Communicate and offer help.
We doubt that Barnes and Noble have spent a lot of resources to launch the campaign. Yet, has done all good holiday marketing campaigns should do: it reminded about the brand, showed the expertise of the company, and included real communication. It was simple, creative, and relevant, and that is how you show your customers what you are talking about.
4. Food 52 and ‘Cookies of the World’
Food 52 created the only cookie guide you need. The cooking platform compiled a list with more than 40 cookie recipes from around the world as part of its holiday marketing. Of course, the scale of the project is not as impressing as one of the other companies, but its ingeniousness is certainly admirable. I know it is one of my favorites.
The company used what it does best (writing recipes) to appeal to its audience (people looking for cookie recipes). They created a useful guide that you want to save, share, and use.
Key takeaways: Be useful.
People like useful lists. So Food 52 has done exactly that — created a list that people can refer to at any time. It showed the companies credibility and certainly drove in some traffic. shows the credibility of the website. Their campaign also showed that you do not need a big budget to create one of the successful holiday marketing campaigns. All you need is understanding of your audience, good knowledge of your product, and a bit of imagination.
5. Google and ‘Home Alone’
Google has access to a lot of resources. So, no wonder that some of the best holiday marketing campaigns are the ones that come out of that powerhouse. The company knows how to make ads that are both fun and entertaining.
The campaign we will talk about is this year’s ads for Google Assitant. They brought back Macaulay Culkin to recreate some of the most iconic scenes from Home Alone. And needless to say, it was a success. Not only they advertised how impressive their AI is, but also made many people go ‘Aaaau..’ by doing the most Christmas thing ever – calling a pizza delivery guy a filthy animal. If that is not the formula for success we do not know what is.
Key takeaways: Speak to people’s hearts.
Christmas is associated with a lot of good things. There is such symbolism floating around the celebration and so many positive emotions associated with it that you should use it if you want to produce a successful ad. Of course, it is not easy. You need to be smart about the ways you use it, but it is certainly possible.
6. WeWork and ‘#wwgiftguide’
The tech companies that look for interesting ideas for their holiday marketing campaign can use the example of WeWork as a reference. It is a B2B company that offers co-working spaces around all around the world. So logically one would think there is no point for it to advertise directly to customers, but one would be wrong. To attract future startups they launched a creative Holiday Gift Guide with the products produced by the companies who work from the co-working spaces.
The guide was brilliant. It had categories like ‘Gifts with a personal touch ‘Gifts for tech geeks,’and ‘Gifts for your boss that already has everyone’ and appealed to millennials. WeWork managed to both advertise itself, help customers, and promote the businesses that use its services.
Key takeaways: Offer help.
WeWork understood what it can do for their customer, and offered genuine help that did not pass unnoticed. It is a simple yet thoughtful campaign that people loved, and — let’s be honest — no wonder they did.
What we have learned from the most successful holiday marketing campaigns
The main thing that you can take out of the most successful holiday marketing campaigns from this article is that to be good a campaign needs to be consistent, helpful, and a little bit emotional. There is no better time to prove that you care about your customers than Christmas.
So if you are looking for a successful digital marketing campaign and creative tech solutions that will help your business, we will be happy to help. Take a look at our portfolio if you want to learn more about the projects we have worked on in the past, or contact us directly learn more about our services.